Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats Rotation Cycle #8: good/bad/inconclusive

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Washington won the first two games of the Florida series, but still faced a very difficult trip to Atlanta, where they are set to face the cream of the Braves’ rotation.  How did they do?

Good

  • Jason Marquis got the Atlanta Series off to a nice start, pitching into the 8th on 5/10 for a victory over Tim Hudson (box/gamer).  He retired the first 9 he faced, made a mistake to Martin Prado that turned into a 4th inning homer, worked out of a jam in the 5th then cruised through 7 complete.  Two hits in the 8th turned into 2 more runs, spoiling his otherwise good line: 7 1/3, 7 hits, 2 walks, 3 runs, 3ks.
  • John Lannan is an enigma; he followed up last week’s abomination with a good quality start against a playoff team in Atlanta on 5/11 (box/gamer).  Line: 6ip,5hits, 2 runs, 3bbs and 3ks.
  • Jordan Zimmermann had a very dominant 103 pitch outing on 5/12 (box/gamer): 6 1/3, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2bbs and 11Ks.  Two of those 3 runs were inherited and allowed to score by Burnett.  The other was a solo HR from Chipper Jones that he absolutely crushed after Zimmermann *barely* missed with two well thrown sliders to run the count 2-0.  He missed his spot by a foot and Jones crushed it.  Our the poorly constructed bullpen conspired to blow the 4 run lead they had been given in the 7th and eventually leaked in the winning run to blow one of the better outings we’ve had out of a starter all year.

Bad

  • Livan Hernandez may have reached 5 complete innings in Florida on Sunday 5/8, but he got hammered on the way there (box/gamer).  Final line: 5ip, 8hits, 2 walks, only 2Ks and 6 earned runs.  The Umpire wasn’t giving Livan the corners, and the Florida hitters just waited out his batting practice-speed fastballs to come over the plate.  Livan’s counterpart didn’t seem to mind the umpiring; Anibel Sanchez had a no-hitter through 7 and struck out 11.
  • Tom Gorzelanny couldn’t get out of the 5th on 5/13 (box/gamer), putting up an unsightly line: 4 2/3ip, 8hits and a walk leading to 4 runs.  He got torched by the (very tough) first half of Florida’s lineup in the first and Riggleman yanked him when he got into trouble again in the 5th.  He was already on 88 pitches when departing.

Starter Trends

MLB Trends (through gorz 5/13)
Lhernandez    good,bad,good,good,bad,good,soso,bad,good
Marquis    good,good,good,soso,great,bad,good
Lannan    good,soso,soso,bad,soso,good,really bad,good
Zimmermann     good,good,good,bad,bad,good,good,great
Gorzelanny    soso,good,soso,good,great,good,bad

Relievers of Note

  • Here’s Henry Rodriguez‘s outing on Sunday 5/8: 6 batters faced, 3 walks, 2 wild pitches, one weak grounder and two strike outs.  1 inning pitched, 1 earned run on zero hits.  27 pitches but only NINE for strikes.  This is just NOT going to cut it.  Further evidence as seen in the 5/12 game, further commented here.
  • Is Sean Burnett suddenly becoming a liability out of the pen?  He retired no-one on 5/10, helping to nearly blow a 6-run lead.  He had several clean outings before that, but a stretch in mid-april has his season era near 6.00.  He’s not getting nearly the K/9 rates that he was last year (4.0 this year versus 8.9 last year).  Is his arm hurt?
  • How about Drew Storen?  Riggleman still won’t commit to him as the closer, but actions speak louder than words.  As of 5/11′s game (where he earned the win by being the pitcher of record when the team scored 4 in the 11th) he’s pitched 20 2/3 innings and given up ONE run.  And we were worried about him coming out of spring training?  For all those who are talking about whether or not he’s not as “good” as Aaron Crow, you’re crazy.  Give me a shutdown closer over a middle reliever who couldn’t hack it as a starter in the minors any day.

Thoughts on the offense

Riggleman is starting to make the right decisions by playing Wilson Ramos and Laynce Nix more and more, and they’re 2 of the best 3 producing offensive players we have right now.  Its a small sample size, but Roger Bernadina looks like he may stick in the leadoff/center field spot even when Ankiel is back.

Written by Todd Boss

May 16th, 2011 at 9:51 am

One Response to 'Nats Rotation Cycle #8: good/bad/inconclusive'

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  1. I think you made a god point, Todd. For 2009 & 2010, if you loked up enigma in the dictionary, there’d be a picture of Lannan.

    Mark L

    16 May 11 at 7:49 pm

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